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Attorney general sues Arkansas couple accused of lying about son’s illnesses

by Stephen Simpson | July 28, 2021 at 2:46 p.m.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge gives a press conference in this Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 file photo.

A Saline County couple face a lawsuit from the attorney general’s Office after authorities said the two lied to doctors about the highly publicized illnesses of their young son.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Kristy and Erik Schneider, from Saline County, accusing them of falsifying their child’s health condition to medical providers and lying to the public about him being deathly ill, which resulted in them receiving over $31,000 in charitable contributions and donations. The complaint alleges the Schneiders’ actions violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

“They essentially took advantage of the goodwill of Arkansans,” Rutledge said. "... Quite frankly this case is sad and sickening that parents would put their own child at risk for profit."

Rutledge said the number of violations by the Schneiders will be determined in court. She said each violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act could result in injunctions and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

Their adopted son's struggles with these "illnesses" were covered at length by news outlets, and there were several community efforts to support the young boy.

Doctors have described the ordeal as a result of "Munchausen syndrome by proxy," or the false projection of disease or injury onto another person in order to deceive.

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